Sunday, February 17, 2013

Is Demography Destiny?

When I was a kid, I remember being absorbed by the population of Wisconsin and especially of Milwaukee. This was true even before the Braves came from Boston in 1953, so I was ten or so... Anyhow, back then Milwaukee was the 13th largest city in the USA, far behind Detroit, St. Louis, and other towns with big league teams.

However, Milwaukee has slid from the 750k range to around 600k today. Milwaukee now has just about the 26th place in the USA.

However, I remember that back in the early '50s that St. Louis was a notch or two above Milwaukee in population, around 800k. The last census in 2010, it was at 318k and losing about .4% per annum.

It is even more important to remember that in the year of the Great World Fair in St. Louis in 1905, the "Gateway to the West" was the THIRD city in the country after New York and Chicago, and had TWO major league baseball teams.

Today it is stuck between Santa Ana and Riverside, CA.

I've lived in both Milwaukee and St. Louis [though back in the sixties] and StL was a bustling metropolis famous for its Italian and German flavor [catchers Yogi Berra & another Italian who caught for the Cardinals both hailed from the south side Italian district].

At the time, I remember St. Louis still having a population of around 600k within its urban boundaries [I was dabbling in local politics, so the number comes to mind]

But the great metropolis with a World's Fair that invented the ice cream cone and popularized the hot dog and hamburger is now a husk of a city---tarnished with a population from the Deep South which pays no taxes and truly is an urban blight without many redeeming features.

East St. Louis is across the Mississippi and a true reflection of the misery of much of urban America east of that great river.

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